Thomas makes 34 saves, Bruins beat Panthers 2-1
BOSTON – All-Star Tim Thomas stopped 34 shots to lead the Bruins to a 2-1 victory over the Florida Panthers on Wednesday night as Boston headed into the break in first place in the Northeast Division.
Brad Marchand and Milan Lucic scored for the Bruins, who have won seven of their last 10 games.
Bryan Allen scored for Florida, and Tomas Vokoun stopped made 33 saves.
The Panthers pulled Vokoun with 1:08 left and former Bruin Dennis Wideman put a shot on net with 1.4 seconds left, but Thomas saved it with his body.
Boston beat the Panthers for the fourth straight time, completing the season sweep. Florida has lost five of its last six games — the only win coming against the New York Rangers on Tuesday night — though only two of the losses have been in regulation.
Marchand gave the Bruins the lead with 6:29 left in the first period when he brought the puck around the back of the net and wrapped it around the post past Vokoun. It was Marchand's seventh goal in 10 games. Lucic made it 2-0 in the second period with a wrist shot from outside the circle off a faceoff.
That set up Thomas, the 2009 Vezina Trophy winner, to take over the NHL lead with eight shutouts. But Allen spoiled that when a rebound squirted out past the left circle and he slapped it in to make it 2-1 with 11:23 left in the game.
Thomas, who along with defenseman Zdeno Chara will represent the Bruins in the All-Star game, entered the night leading the league with a 1.84 goals-against average and a .945 save percentage. He is tied with New York's Henrik Lundqvist for the most shutouts, with seven.
NOTES: Willie O'Ree, who was the first black player in NHL history, dropped the ceremonial first puck. O'Ree broke the NHL's color barrier when he played for Boston on Jan. 18, 1958. ... Bruins forward Marc Savard, who sustained a concussion against Colorado last week, has returned home to Ontario to rest. Savard missed the last month of the 2009-10 season and the playoffs along with the first 23 games of this season with a concussion. ... Bruins F David Krejci appeared to injure his left arm on a hit against the boards in the first quarter, but he returned to the game. ... In the second, Panthers F Shawn Matthias went feet-first into the boards and crawled halfway to the bench before a whistle allowed the trainer to come out and help him. ... Florida has played in 27 one-goal games this season, tied for the most in the NHL.